Naxiely Lopez-Puente

Naxiely Lopez-Puente covers Hidalgo County and Edinburg for The Monitor. You can contact her at or (956) 683-4434.

Single dad cares for three, including special needs daughter

If you ask Gonzalo De La Cruz what his children need for Christmas, he’ll tell you they have everything — a roof over their heads, a lit bit of food in their modest kitchen and clothes to wear. But a quick look around the house will tell you otherwise. The spry 74-year-old is the sole provider for his three children. His eldest daughter Jasmine, 20, is nonverbal and has a number of health issues that require round-the-clock care, including cerebral palsy and Rett’s Syndrome. Juan, 18, struggled with school and now cuts yards to help out, and his youngest, Jessica, is a sharp 10-year-old who thrives in fifth grade. Read the full story at

Helicopter ambulance housed at McAllen Medical Center

Air ambulance services are back at McAllen Medical Center, hospital officials announced Tuesday during a ribbon-cutting ceremony marking the occasion. South Texas Health System McAllen and South Texas Air Med teamed up to expand critical care in the Rio Grande Valley by once again housing a helicopter at the site. Hidalgo County EMS, a privately owned ambulance company, owns the rotor aircraft that will be housed there 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. “This past February, Air Evac (Lifeteam) gave notice to the Valley that they were leaving,” Hidalgo County EMS owner and President Kenneth “Kenny” Ponce said about the region’s former helicopter ambulance provider. Read the full story at

Fallout follows Edinburg axings

The city manager agreed to walk away with a $250,000 severance package; in fact, he proposed it to the council, new city council majority leader Gilbert Enriquez said Thursday. Former City Manager Juan Guerra was entitled to receive $500,000 if the council fired him before completing two years of employment, but instead, the new majority negotiated the lesser rate during their first meeting in power Wednesday. Read the full story at

New majority sweeps out city manager, secretary and many more

The council here agreed to offer the city manager a $250,000 severance package to walk away and terminated two high-ranking employees, two municipal court judges and replaced a majority of its economic development board Wednesday, as the new majority took over. The moves did not come without criticism. Mayor Richard Molina called the decision to negotiate an exit with City Manager Juan Guerra “absurd” and blasted the new majority for taking such drastic measures on their first meeting in power. Read the full story at

Edinburg to mull city manager, secretary posts

Elections have consequences, and for some high-ranking city officials here, it could spell trouble as the power on the council shifts. Edinburg City Manager Juan Guerra, City Secretary Ludivina Leal, and the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation board appear to be first on the chopping block. That’s according to Wednesday’s council agenda, which marks the first meeting since Mayor Richard Molina lost his majority last week.  Those positions, which the current majority either hired or appointed, have been a point of contention for various reasons.  Read the full story at

New law requires coverage of breast exam through insurance

Texas women can now obtain a diagnostic mammogram at no cost through their insurance provider thanks to a new law that was enacted earlier this year. The diagnostic mammogram is the most accurate exam when it comes to detecting breast cancer, and previously women had dish out between $300 to $1,000 to pay for it. “Women shouldn’t have to look at their bank account to determine whether they need a diagnostic mammogram,” state Rep. Terry Canales said Wednesday at Doctors Hospital at Renaissance, where a news conference was held to announce the law. Read the full story at

Edinburg municipal judge keeps seat

The Palacios family continues to hold a key to the city after longtime municipal judge Toribio “Terry” Palacios beat his first opponent in more than two decades. Palacios received almost twice as many votes as his opponent, Edinburg attorney Alma Garza, according to unofficial voting figures released by the Hidalgo County Elections Department on Tuesday night. Palacios will continue to preside over Edinburg after clinching 66% of the vote, with 4,312 ballots cast in his favor. Read the full story at

Edinburg majority up for grabs as Place 3 race heads to runoff

The former police chief here defeated the Place 4 incumbent, delivering a blow to the current council majority, but the fight for control of the city is not yet over. Former Police Chief David White managed to obtain 376 more votes than Edinburg Councilman David Torres, according to unofficial results released by the Hidalgo County Elections Department Tuesday night. White received 56% of the early vote, with 3,659 ballots cast in his favor, while Torres received 44%, with 2,846 votes. Neither of them returned calls for comment Tuesday night. Read the full story at

Edinburg councilman sues city, EDC for access to information

An Edinburg councilman filed a lawsuit against the city and the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation last week to obtain confidential information that he believes he is entitled to see in order to carry out his oath of office. And the soon-to-be court battle once again draws the line between Councilman Gilbert Enriquez and the three who comprise the council majority: Mayor Richard Molina and Councilmen David Torres and Jorge Salinas. Enriquez is asking a state district court judge to step in to direct the two entities and the two officials he sued — Edinburg City Manager Juan Guerra and EEDC Executive Director Ruben Ramirez — to release documents associated with potential economic development incentives. Read the full story at

Edinburg attorney weighs in on election decision

The city attorney here recently shed light on how exactly municipal voters will choose the Place 3 winner after candidates said they weren’t sure how the process would unfold. There are four people running for the seat that Edinburg Councilman Homer Jasso Jr. will vacate — Deanna “Coach” Dominguez, Juan “Johnny” Garcia, Carlos Jasso and Marc Roque — and at least two of them said during early voting that they didn’t know if the winner would be selected by plurality or majority vote. A plurality vote gives the candidate with the most votes the win. A majority vote, on the other hand, requires a candidate to receive more than 50% of the vote to clinch the win. Edinburg City Attorney Omar Ochoa said the race will be decided via a majority vote on Tuesday, which will likely send the top two vote-getters into a runoff race. Read the full story at